On June 6, 1944, 160,000 Allied troops invaded a 50-mile stretch of coastline in Normandy, France, launching a ground assault against Nazi troops in continental Europe. It’s still considered one of the greatest military operations in history. The cost of D-Day was high, though: more than 9,000 troops were killed or injured in that single day.
Veterans groups estimate there are fewer than 10,000 D-Day veterans still alive today. One of those men is Major Gen. John Raaen. He’s sharing his incredible military experiences, beginning with a military upbringing that put him on a first-name basis with the likes of John Eisenhower (future President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s son) and George Patton and through his distinguished turn at West Point.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Raaen describes his “unbelievable” experiences on Omaha Beach and why most of them never expected to come home, even though they were going to give it their best try.
His combat missions didn’t end in World War II. Raaen went on to serve in Korea and Vietnam, earning him some of the nation’s highest military awards.
Now 93, he’s still physically strong and mentally sharp. He doesn’t like to look back but he’s constantly receiving invitations to speak about his experiences to groups, reporters and historians. He explains why he feels it’s his duty to help tell the stories and preserve them for history.